Argument: A premature US withdrawal would jeopardize world oil supplies

Issue Report: Withdrawing from Iraq


  • Ardalan Hardi. “Leaving Iraq, a Catastrophe to U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East”. April 6, 2007 – “One of the biggest factors for staying the course is Iraqi oil. Losing Iraq’s oil production to a regional power struggle will have a horrific impact on international markets that will not only affect the U.S. but it could throw the entire free world market in a tail spin with oil prices at levels never seen before. Amy Myers Jaffe in her research paper (presented to The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy – Rice University) says “Iraq holds an important place in the political development and economic trend of the international oil market both historically and at the present time. Iraq’s stated proven oil reserves of 115 billion barrels -while perhaps somewhat overestimated during the rule of Saddam Hussein – are among the largest in the world. The country’s resource base is considered the second largest in the world, second to Saudi Arabia, and its oil export policy has been a critical element in setting international oil supply and pricing for over 30 years.” Knowing this fact alone should make U.S. politicians think of the consequences before making hasty decisions for unilateral pull out of Iraq.”
  • Don Shepperd, a retired Air Force major-general and military analyst for CNN, quoted in, “No safe way for U.S. to leave Iraq, experts warn”. May 3, 2007 – “Shepperd said Iraq’s neighbors would be drawn into the all-out civil war likely if U.S. forces left too quickly. Iran could move in to further strengthen its influence in southern Iraq; Turkey likely would move against the Kurds in the north; and Saudi Arabia would be inclined to take action to protect Sunnis in western Iraq, he said.
The oil sector could also get hit hard, with Iran potentially mining the Persian Gulf and attempting to close the Straits of Hormuz, putting a stranglehold on oil flow, Shepperd says.
‘Oil prices would skyrocket,’ he said — perhaps soaring from current prices of about $60 a barrel to more than $100 a barrel, with consequent rises at the gas pump.”